Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great holiday weekend. Fire away.
I know the great USA Today baseball columnist Bob Nightengale said the Royals and Cardinals were talking about Adams. I've known Bob for 20 years, and he's been one of my mentors since I was a rookie reporter. There aren't many guys I trust more than Bob, so if he says they're talking, there is truth there.
First of all, thank you for reading that column. Jackie Kemph represents all that we think is good about major athletics. I really do think the great majority of college athletes embody what college sports are supposed to be about, but unfortunately there are some examples that remind you college sports can be a dirty little business.
I second this motion. I agree with you. The light blue and gold Winter Classic sweaters were quite impressive. I've always liked the vintage looks in all sports, but the Blues' Winter Classic sweaters had that rare combination of a vintage look that also appears trendy and new, if that makes sense.
Everybody I spoke with at the Winter Classic - local fans, out-of-town media and fans - were impressed with the entire Winter Classic festivities. The Blues and Cardinals did a tremendous job, and the city of St. Louis, especially downtown, shone brightly through the foggy weather. As Wayne Gretzky told me after the Winter Classic, St. Louis put on a very good event.
I haven't, but I think either Jeremy Rutherford or Tom Timmermann quoted several players who adamantly declared that the Winter Classic wasn't a distraction. Coach Hitchcock disagreed. I'm sure the camera men weren't much of a distraction, but you have to remember that most of the players had plenty of family and friends come in for this event. Anybody who has played host during the holidays knows that company can be a distraction. Whatever the case, they put it all together and beat the Blackhawks. I think the family skate at Busch Stadium a day before the Winter Classic proved to be a great stress release for many of the players and their families.
You are right. Hockey players aren't big on making excuses. And of all the players in that Blues locker room, Alexander Steen may very well be the last guy who would use and injury as an excuse. Nonetheless, there's no doubt he hasn't been quite as good recently as the standards he has set here.
I absolutely loved the Winter Classic. I have to say that it was one of the best events I've ever covered. I loved how it brought the city together. I would be exaggerating if I said it ranked up there with the dozen or so World Series, Super Bowl or Olympics that I covered, but it ranks up there with any MLB All-Star Game or international soccer game I've covered other than the Mexico-U.S. World Cup qualifier at Azteca Stadium in 2013.
Unfortunately, it all depends how much of an obligation a player feels for his teammates. Myles Garrett, the Texas A&M All-America DE who is predicted to go first or second overall in the draft, played in the Texas Bowl because he wanted to play with his friends. Two other big time running backs and one that isn't quite so big time decided it wasn't worth the risk. Everybody has to make a decision. If I were in their shoes, I'd like to think that I would love my teammates enough to want to play with them. Yet, if my child had to make that decision I would probably seriously recommend that she consider the risks and rewards.
Based on the reports on Duchene, the Avalanche aren't going to be willing to trade him at a discount. There's no doubt the Blues could use such a talented center like Duchene, but you have to wonder if they have what it takes to get him.
A Dyson-Adams swap doesn't seem unreasonable. Dyson would be a solid backup outfielder who can step in defensively quite well.
They won't say it, but the Cardinals are comfortable with playing for a wild-card in 2017 and seeing if the Cubs will take a big step back this season. The Cubs won 103 games in 2016, and they bring back most of the team. They'll also have slugger Kyle Schwarber healthy again. Even if they take a step back, it's not unreasonable to expect them to win 94 games in 2017. Barring any additions, I'm predicting this roster will win 85-86 games. Does anybody think this team can win more than 92 games?
The Cardinals' pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 14.
I have no problem with one-and-done players. If they're good enough to be played for their talents, they should capitalize. It's actually a shame that the NBA makes them wait a year before they can play.
The Mets-Yankees rivalry I covered when I was a Mets beatwriter was the best rivalry I have ever covered, especially when they played in the 2000 Subway Series. If you recall, that was the year that Roger Clemens hit Mike Piazza in the head with a pitch during the regular season interleague game at Yankee Stadium in the nightcap of a split, day-night doubleheader that began at Shea Stadium and then traveled to Yankee Stadium for the nightcap. And, of course, everybody remembers what happened in the World Series rematch when Clemens and Piazza met again.
That is a very good question. It will be interesting to see how much rope they give Wong.
I would never call myself a fan, but I'm definitely sold on hockey. I love watching hockey and covering the Blues. The Blues are probably the most exciting sporting event in town.
At this point, Matt Carpenter is expected to play first. Gyorko and Peralta are your options at third. Diaz is at short. Adams is definitely the odd man out.
The Winter Classic atmosphere is more in line with an All-Star Game or a Division Series game atmosphere. I wouldn't quite say it's up there with a World Series game, though.
I don't think there's a bat available now to be much of an upgrade. That's not to say I think they have an impressive lineup.
There's still a gap. The Cardinals farm system held up well in the few years after Jeff Luhnow left to the Astros, but I need to see how many guys who were picked after he left have graduated to the majors.
It's much too early to know, but it's not as though he was going to be used here by the Blues anymore.
I hadn't given Rolen's Hall of Fame case much thought. He was a really good player for a long time, but at this point I cannot say I ever viewed him as a future Hall of Famer.
Fowler, Diaz and Carpenter seems like a very good first three.
He's definitely not on their roster. I think he's in middle school, which means he already knows the offense, according to Todd Gurley.
You have to wait until the middle of spring training before you can really know.
All of the ballots have already been submitted. I honestly think most voters know how they want to vote and don't base their ballots on how others are voting. For the record, I submitted and made my vote public during the Thanksgiving weekend. I was the third of the public ballots that were recorded by the guy who has the most popular vote tracker.